50s Style Interior Design Ideas

Published July 31, 2018
50's style chrome kitchen table set

The 50s style is a great era for interior design ideas to incorporate a retro look in your home décor. If you're a purist and wish to recreate a total look, you can find plenty of 50s reproductions as well as collect cherished vintage pieces.

1950s Decorating

The colors used in the 1950s were mostly pastels. These included soft pink, mint green, butter yellow, baby blue, and turquoise (similar to the popular current turquoise). Red and other bright colors were eventually added for dramatic decors.

Wallpapers in the 1950s

50's style living room

Wallpaper was a popular décor and often used in foyers, kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

  • Damasks and floral patterns were popular choices for formal foyers.
  • Pastoral wallpaper murals above chair rails were a popular choice in dining rooms along with damask and other formal styles.
  • Grasscloth wallpaper was expensive and a luxury/status symbol for dens and living rooms.
  • Children's rooms were often designed using gender colors of pink (girls) and blue (boys) as well as gender subjects, such as trains or sports for boys and flowers or butterflies for girls.


Knotty pine paneling was all the rage, and it was a sought after den (family room) wall treatment. Many homes showcased paneling for breakfast rooms and kitchen cabinets. These weren't just plain panels. Each was cut in the Pickwick tongue and grove style with a warm glowing golden finish.

Scandinavian Color Schemes

Another popular color scheme was known as the Scandinavian colors. These include earth colors, such as brown, gray, and tan. The overall décor focused on these muted

Furniture Styles

The popular 1950s furniture styles offered a lot of choices for home décor looks These included:

Scandinavian furniture in living room
  • Upholstered furniture: Traditional furniture was style a favorite choice. Floral patterns and overstuffed comfortable chairs and sofas were available in almost any styles, such as Chippendale and Queen Anne.
  • Scandinavian furniture: The distinct look of Scandinavian furniture was embraced by the 1950s crowd for its modern and minimalist look. The upholstery was often heavy textures in earth greens, browns, and tans.
  • Laminated plywood furniture: Economic furniture designs using plywood laminate were popularized by designer husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames and appealed to those wishing to be current and modern.

Décor Fabrics

The upholstery and drapery fabrics featured textures, colors, and patterns, such as tweeds and geometrics. Vinyl and Naugahyde® were often also used for chairs and sofas.

The 1950s Bathroom

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The 50s bathroom was often a vision in pastel with pops of darker colors. The two most popular bathroom tile colors were soft pink and baby blue. Mint green, a popular 1930s-bathroom color, was also still very popular in the 1950s décor. Popular wallpapers for bathrooms included nautical, seashells, flowers, and butterflies.

Bathroom Fixtures and Accessories

Bathroom wall and floor tiles remained a status symbol, and white pedestal sinks were popular choices. Darker bathroom accessories were often used to provide contrast and depth.

Adding the 50s to Your Bathroom

You can add this nostalgic look to your bathroom by introducing pastels with bathmats, shower curtains, towels, accessories, and wall art. Add pastel wall tiles to your bathroom installing this element to 3/4 the wall height. Paint the remaining wall a matching or contrast color and install a pedestal sink. Add some accessories with 50s style bathroom wallpaper themes, such as shell soaps or nautical items.

The Kitchen

Cherry red checked kitchen decor

In the kitchen, pastel colors were used for appliances, cabinets, kitchen furniture, and floors. The black and white checkerboard floor pattern was popular in diners, cafes, and soda shops and therefore popular in kitchens, as well. It's not surprising the popularity of Coca Cola and its red logo; cherry red became very popular for kitchen décors for those wishing to make a more dramatic statement. The wallpaper patterns used in kitchens were traditionally kitchen oriented such as fruit and vegetable patterns and gingham prints.

Other Color Trends

Along with cherry red, other vibrant colors become popular among those wishing to introduce a higher concept of contrast in home decors. These included bright yellow, electric blue, and citrus orange as well as the enduring 1920s/1930s checkerboard black and white.

Kitchen Appliance Colors

For many, the pale pastel colored kitchen appliances were a must have for any 1950s stylish kitchen décor. The appeal of these appliances is the curved lines and use of chrome, such as chrome refrigerator handles.

Kitchen Dining Table and Chairs Colors and Materials

The iconic chrome kitchen tables had Formica® tops, often in pale colors, white, or red. The vinyl upholstered chairs reflected the soft pale color palette of the era. Soda shops and diner-styled furniture found their way into home décors, as well, and chrome with brightly colored upholstery was popular.

Integrating 1950s Kitchen Color Style

You may decide you only want a touch of this retro look in your kitchen. You can accomplish this look with a chrome kitchen table and chairs in your favorite vintage color. You may want to exchange your appliances for the gentle curves and pastel choices found in the 1950s appliance reproductions with modern technology features.

  • Consider a black and white square floor.
  • Paint your kitchen cabinets white and replace door handles and hinges with chrome fixtures.
  • Replace your appliances with cherry red versions.
  • Add red and white gingham window valances or solid red curtains.

1950s Style Tips for Your Home

You can add touches of this era to your existing décor.

Using 50s Style Interior Design Ideas

You can use as much of the 1950s style in your home décor as you desire. These nostalgic touches can give your rooms an extra layer of interest and depth.

50s Style Interior Design Ideas